Brownstone Blog

Monthly Archives: May 2013

Getting the Customer Experience Right

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of creating an experience for your customers whether you have a website, social media strategy or a bricks and mortar store. It’s not about what you have to sell, or even what price you are selling it at (always a mistake to try to compete on this one as someone, somewhere will always under-sell you). It’s about how your customer feels when they interact with you that determines how much they spend and also their loyalty over the long-term. Even in today’s challenging retail environment, nobody should ever lose sight of the fact that a customer’s business usually increases over time. Markets and economies never did business with anyone. People do business with other people. So, if you’re looking to increase your sales the first thing to ask yourself is what kind of person is your business and also, how is it getting along with everyone? Is it someone they want to hang out with? This all may sound trite and simple stuff but at the end of the day relationships shouldn’t be rocket science.

What you say to your customers and how they feel about you is more important today than it ever was. And you want to be creating the right impression so yes – they want to keep ‘hanging out’ with you. First, let’s look at one interaction that went horribly wrong for a brand who should have known better and we’ll then move on to a retailer who should become the poster child for how to do everything right.

Domino’s Pizza conducted an epic Fail recently when it embarked on an extensive social media campaign announcing a ‘Game changer’ revamp after two decades. Domino’s customers were teased and titillated over a week as to exactly what this would be. Pizza’s delivered by flying saucers instead of that spotty delivery boy who can’t find your address perhaps? ”Get ready for our biggest announcement in 20 years #gamechanger,” a banner on Domino’s Facebook page stated. ”You’ve demanded change and we’ve pushed ourselves to respond,” Domino’s Chief Executive Don Meij added.

As it happened, the hype far exceeded the actual truth of the matter when the much promised Earth-shattering, game changer was revealed to be nothing more than new toppings and a square pizza base. ‘YOU HAD US ON THE EDGE OF OUR SEATS FOR THIS?” one Facebook user wrote on the company’s page. ”This is not a game changer, What a waste of my time,” another wrote, while other Facebook users complained their critical comments were deleted. ”Really? That’s it? After 20 YEARS that’s the biggest announcement you have to make?! You guys seriously need to move a huge chunk of your marketing money back into your product development because that was shite,” one viewer wrote. Another alluded to the current food scandal writing, ”DAMN I was hoping for horse meat lol!” Domino’s therefore lost credibility, created a negative experience for their customers and undoubtedly ended up with a mailbox whose crust was well and truly stuffed with negative responses for some time to come. The take-out (pardon the pun but it was sitting there and we just had to go for it), that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to keep your customers happy. Just keep doing what you do.

But we were saving the best to last. A retailer who has got everything right by creating an experience that sends just the right message from the moment the customer enters their premises. Vincent Davies began life 100 years ago as a small shop in the Welsh town of Haverfordwest. Today it’s wonderful and expansive new home store, located just outside of the town centre, includes a cornucopia of high quality furniture, homewares, gift items, clothing, books, a pet store and garden centre set out in a way that just begs touching, exploring and immersing yourself in sensual pleasures. Once you have finished your tour of this beautifully laid-out emporium (and tried to keep your spending under control), a visit to the café is a must with its wonderful views and menu that puts many restaurants to shame. If you think you know what a store restaurant serves up – think again. Domino’s – take note. There’s a lot to be learned in those Welsh hills.